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Neutral current is less than phase current?

In a balanced 3-phase system with pure sine waves, the neutral current is zero, ideally.
If there is phase imbalance, it shows up in the neutral, so check for imbalance.

The other major cause of high neutral currents is full wave rectification, where the current of each phase is flowing only at its peak voltage. In this case, the neutral current can be as high as three times the phase currents, theoretically.

If you can see the frequency of the neutral current, line frequency currents indicate imbalance. Current due to full wave rectification is high in third harmonics, so it may show mostly 3 x line frequency, or be a ratty square wave at 3 x line frequency.

High neutral currents, and some resulting fires, are largely responsible for the adoption of power factor correction requirements. If your loads are balanced and pfc corrected, you should not have neutral currents.

The neutral current (In) is summation of the phase currents. And obviously, the three phases are decoupled now; and not loading Y makes Iy=0.
So In = Ir + Ib (vectorial sum). Now depending on the amount of loading, nature of loads and their respective power factors, a variety of possibilities (for neutral current magnitude and phase) arise; which may include the case of In being higher.
The statement "neutral current is usually less than phase currents" is naive and not universal.

Nonlinear loads (i.e. rectifiers as Ed mentioned above) draw significant harmonic current. In many cases the current Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is >100%. In a 3-phase, 4-wire system, the triplen harmonic currents (3, 9, 15, 21...) sum in the neutral wire because they are all in-phase. This is why the neutral current can be much higher than the phase currents even on an otherwise balanced load application. If you can put a current probe on the neutral and look at the waveform - you can see how much fundamental vs. harmonic current there is.

Calculate (3 * 9) =

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